This study, which drew on the feedback and insights of 1,288 current family day care educators across Australia, is the result of research commissioned by FDCA and undertaken by market research agency Survey Matters. The research formed part of FDCA's Member Initiatives for 2018-2019 and will be a valuable base for our promotion and advocacy work in 2019-2020 and beyond. It explored the current socio-demographic profile of family day care educators :
Thank you so much to all the educators who took time out of their busy schedules to respond to the online survey and thereby contribute to this study. The research also drew on the input of several family day care service managers, as well as two focus groups with educators working in alternative settings and students and educators currently studying early childhood education and care.
The results have yielded some important insights into how the profile of a family day care educator has changed over the past 10 years and what the profile of a family day care educator in the future is likely to be. As the national peak body, FDCA is committed to ensuring a strong and viable future for the sector so that more children and families can experience the benefits of family day care. FDCA will be utilising this evidence base to address barriers to entering the sector, promote the value and increasing professionalisation of family day care, utilise the findings in FDCA's marketing campaigns, and better support both current educators and services to continually improve.
To view the key findings of the research select from the topics below:
The age profile of family day care educators has remained fairly constant over the past decade, with the majority (57%) in 2018 continuing to fall into the 30-49 age group, compared with 59% in this age bracket in 2010.
Educators share many common characteristics, which have changed little over time, suggesting personality plays a key role in suitability for being a family day care educator. For example, family day care educators are comfortable working independently and have a high degree of confidence in their own skills and ability to design educational programs and provide quality care for the children they look after. They value flexibility and like to work autonomously, with few expressing a need for more support over and above what is currently available to them.
The research showed a growing professionalism of the family day care workforce over the past decade, with a majority (55%) now holding Diploma level qualifications or higher, and 39% having a Certificate III qualification. A small proportion (4%) are classified as "working towards Certificate III".
Reflecting national homeownership statistics, the proportion of family day care educators who own their own home is declining. While 88% of long-term educators own their own home, this falls to 65% of "early career educators" (i.e. educators that have been in the sector for 0-3 years). Data also reflects the importance of stability of housing with 79% of all educators having lived in their current residence for over 3 years.
While many of the reasons educators began their career in family day care have remained consistent over time, it is clear there are also significant changes occurring:
The results clearly showed that family day care educators are passionate about the work they do. Over half (51%) stated that working with children was the most enjoyable part of being a family day care educator and the strong bonds and good relationships that they developed with the children noted by 39%.
Other aspects that educators enjoy about their work include the flexible working times, days and hours as well as the quality of the care they are able to provide to the children.
Family day care educators cited a diverse range of challenges in running their family day care business, including:
The research confirms that, due to the unique nature of family day care, it is likely that those most likely to be attracted to the profession are individuals who are confident in their abilities, comfortable working on their own and committed to using their skills and qualifications to make a difference in the lives of the children they care for. The next generation of family day care educators is also likely to continue to be aged between 30-50 years of age.
Future family day care educators are more likely than in the past to:
Future educators will continue to face a number of barriers remain to setting up a family day care business, including:
Once educators have set up their family day care, there are additional barriers they are likely to face in maintaining the viability of their business, including:
The study provides an evidence base that will assist FDCA to be understand, support and promote educators and services, foster growth and increase viability. As a result of this study, FDCA will be: